Two women have filed a lawsuit against sportswear giant Nike Inc., alleging that the company discriminated against women in pay and career advancement and allowed a sexually hostile work environment to persist. This comes as just the latest development for the company amid scrutiny into the company’s workplace culture.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, alleges that Nike paid them less than their male counterparts at the company and did not address a sexually hostile work environment. The lawsuit seeks class action status.
One plaintiff in the suit, Kelly Cahill, is a former producer and director at Nike from 2012 until 2017 and alleges that she made $20,000 less in salary than a male peer. She also alleges that she was unable to secure a promotion despite having performance reviews which met or exceeded expectations. Ms. Cahill also alleges that one executive referred to women as “dykes” on several occasions and yelled at a female employee in front of other co-workers. Ms. Cahill alleges that she complained to human resources on four occasions, but that no meaningful action was taken as a result.
Another plaintiff in the case, Sara Johnston, was hired at a starting salary of $33,000 and was told Nike would not negotiate her starting pay. Ms. Johnston alleges that two months after she was hired, Nike hired a male into the same role on Ms. Johnston’s team. The lawsuit alleges that his salary started at $35,000, even though he had less relevant experience and lower-level credentials compared to Ms. Johnston. Ms. Johnston also alleges that she was the recipient of a male co-worker sending nude photos of himself. After she asked him to stop, he treated her negatively by refusing to attend meetings she organized and intentionally withheld information she needed to do her job.
Nike has terminated at least eleven executive level employees as a result of inappropriate workplace behavior. Nike’s top human resources executive said the company has failed to promote enough women and minorities. Nike has also said it would give raises to approximately 7,000 employees after conducting an internal review of its compensation practices.
It is important to note that these are allegations and nothing has been proven in court at this point.
If you believe you have been sexually harassed or the victim of unequal pay, please consider contacting the lawyers at the Bullman Law Firm. We represent workers, not employers. Our number is (503) 987-5000. There is no charge for your call.